Recently published Government figures highlight the increasing number of private law family cases involving litigants in person which has in turn prompted calls for the Government to heed further warnings given about the state of the family justice system.
There is a significant increase compared to previous years in the number of private law applications where individuals are not represented by solicitors compared to previous years. Solicitors are calling for some limited Legal Aid funding to allow individuals to take initial advice rather than rushing straight to Court as a means to resolve disputes. The Lord Chief Justice commented that the rise in private law cases was “deeply worrying”. Suggestions have included suggesting reverting to the old Legal Aid system or providing a lawyer at Court who can provide advice on an employed limited basis.
There is also a suggestion that Legal Aid ought to be brought back into scope for all matters concerning children which are only now covered if domestic violence or child protection issues arise. There continues to be calls for the Government to widen the scope of Legal Aid for certain family cases but the position remains unclear. If you have any doubt as to your eligibility for Legal Aid or whether your case would be covered, Clarkson Hirst can provide advice in respect of the same.
By Kerry Davies, Clarkson Hirst Solicitors, Offices at Lancaster, Kendal and Barrow.